By Marty Farmer
After finishing as the runner-up of the IHSA Cross Country State Championship in 2016, Lyons Township senior Danny Kilrea took the one step forward he needed to become a Class 3A state champion this year.
Kilrea cruised to a state title this season with a time of 14 minutes, 8 seconds, well ahead of Whitney Young's Clayton Mendez (14:22) on Nov. 4 at Peoria's Detweiller Park.
Kilrea joined Warren Druetzler as the only individual state champions in LTHS history. Druetzler won state in 1946.
In addition to his second-place finish last year, Kilrea placed 10th as a sophomore.
"I was ready to compete with whoever the contenders would be," Kilrea said in a post-race interview with milesplit.com. "I just felt really good going through the first mile and then the triangle. I just put everything I had out on the table for my last state meet. There's no feeling compared to crossing the finish line knowing that I'm a state champ."
About halfway through the race, the Notre Dame-bound Kilrea made his move. While many runners tend to slow down around the triangle portion of the three-mile race, Kilrea kept a steady pace and gradually built a lead. That cushion allowed him to enjoy the straightaway and finish line with no pressure from opponents.
In the team standings, LTHS (191 points) placed fifth as one of five West Suburban Conference Silver Division teams to finish among the top seven. Downers Grove North (73) won the title, Hinsdale Central took fourth (168), York earned sixth (206) and Glenbard West (223) was seventh.
In addition to Kilrea, senior Charles Harders (42nd/15:01), senior Patrick Kane (61st/15:14) and junior Colin Costello (66th/15:15) recorded top times for the Lions' seven-man squad.
The Lions finished in third place with a score of 184 at the IHSA Cross Country State 3A championship over the weekend. State champion Naperville North (87) and Yorkville (119) placed ahead of the Lions. Glenbard West sophomore Katelynne Hart won the individual state championship with a time of 16:22.
Saturday's result marked the third time LTHS has won a state trophy and it tied for the second-highest finish in program history. The Lions were second in 2007.
"All seven of our girls were terrific on Saturday," LTHS coach Alex Lyons said. "Each one did something in the race that got us third place. We only beat the fourth place team by nine points. Each girl ran either the fastest or second-fastest race of her career. It was a total team effort."